Most of you probably heard about ICEHOTEL – right? And the next question that might pop into your mind is: What happens to it during summer? Since it’s made of ice, it naturally melts away and once again becomes a part of the Torne River. But there’s more to the story. Tag along with Maria as she uncovers some of them while visiting the Jukkasjärvi Old Homestead.
I take a deep breath as I enter my bedroom, not cause I’m tired – but because I just had one of those nights where I’ve pretty much talked to everyone and anyone and the silence was quite welcoming. I glance at my watch, 11.30 pm, and I smile. It’s been a great evening. Now I’ll just try to let you in on the fun (which I know isn’t going do it justice) so that maybe next year you’ll come and join me at Nausta Festival at the Old Homestead. And Nausta – that’s a local beer, which may or may not have made people chattier during the evening. I just know that Jukkasjärvi is a friendly place whenever.
I arrive at the Old Homestead, affectionately called ’Hempy’ by the locals, around 6 pm. Tonight’s band is sound-checking on stage. I find a table on the terrace overlooking the Torne River and order the tonight’s special: barbeque. And a beer. Hey, it’s a beer festival so I’m going with it.
And Nausta – that’s a local beer, which may or may not have made people chattier during the evening. I just know that Jukkasjärvi is a friendly place whenever.
– We have different food themes each Saturday, says Louise Wallin, the Manager at the Old Homestead, and hands me a copy of the menu.
The food is delicious. Straight off the grill, I’m served rosemary infused potatoes, veal and bacon-wrapped chicken, together with a fresh bean salad. It’s juicy and full of smokey flavours.
– It’s been marinated in Nausta Indian Pale Ale for 24 hours, Louise smiles at me.
It’s all about the river
As I dig in, a thunderstorm decides make a dramatic entrance and rain starts pouring. Beatrice Karlsson, the ICEHOTEL Press Officer, arrives. A bit wet and out of breath she sits down opposite me.
– Sorry I’m late. I was about to hop on the bike to meet you, but it rained to hard so I had to wait for a lift.
– Don’t worry about it.
I’ve asked her to meet up with me and talk about ICEHOTEL, Jukkasjärvi and what goes on in summer.
– The summers are kind of a homage to the days when we were know for rafting rather than an hotel made of ice, she says. And still, it’s all connected. It’s the circle of life, centred around the river. In spring we harvest ice from the river for next seasons hotel and, when the hotel melts and returns to the river, we fish, raft, canoe, and so forth, says Beatrice. And it’s a classic! Start with adrenaline pumpin’ rafting and finishing it off with a sauna and toddy.
In spring we harvest ice from the river for next seasons hotel and, when the hotel melts and returns to the river, we fish, raft, canoe, and so forth.
– At summertime you can get a story tour of the ICEHOTEL site, Beatrice continues. You get to know the story behind the hotel, learn more about the building process and the creative forces behind each and every hotel. You can visit the storage unit where thousands of tonnes of Torne River ice are stored until next winter and if you’re up for it; try your hand at ice sculpting.